The Philippine National Police (PNP) warned on Sunday, Oct. 24, all its personnel to refrain from engaging in illegal activities following the death of a police sergeant who was tagged as the leader of a gun-running syndicate operating in Masbate.
Police Staff Sgt. Garfilo Pahilino, Jr. died in a shootout on Saturday with operatives of the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG) who were about to arrest him in Placer town where he was assigned.
PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar said the Pahilino opted to shoot it out with IMEG operatives to escape after an entrapment wherein he sold three handguns to a police poseur-buyer.
He died in a shootout nut a cop was also wounded in the gun battle.
“I commend the operatives of our Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group for their successful operation that led to the neutralization of a leader of a gun-running syndicate in Masbate who was unfortunately one of our own,” said Eleazar.
The official said the operation was important since Masbate has a long history of election violence.
Police Brig. Gen. Flynn Dongbo said the suspect was allegedly involved in selling loose firearms in Masbate province to criminal elements. He supposedly also had links to the Bustillos drug group and was suspected to have operated a protection racket for some drug suspects in the province.
Aside from the firearms Pahilino sold to a poseur buyer, police operatives were also able to recover the suspect’s service 9mm pistol with two extra magazines and the buy-bust money topped by a marked bill.
Eleazar said the operation was part of the efforts of the PNP to ensure the credible and orderly holding of elections in May next year. The PNP Chief earlier ordered aggressive operations to account for loose firearms and members and leaders of private armed groups as part of the early election security preparations.
“This will serve as a strong message to those who plan to undermine our democratic process that the Philippine National Police will not hesitate to use the full force of the law against anybody, kahit sila ay kabaro pa namin (even if they are also policemen), just to ensure that our communities are safe and the true will of the people shall reflect for the Halalan 2022,” the Chief PNP said.